A judge in New Brunswick has granted Southwestern Energy Co. (SWN) a two-week extension to an injunction designed to keep anti-shale protesters away while the company wraps up seismic testing in the province.
According to reports, the Court of Queen's Bench in Fredericton, NB, extended the injunction on Monday, just hours before it was to expire. The injunction, originally ordered on Nov. 22, requires protesters to stay at least 250 meters (820 feet) away from SWN's seismic trucks, and at least 20 meters (66 feet) away from the side of roads where SWN is working.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC) reported Tuesday that the site of ongoing clashes between authorities and protesters -- a stretch of Highway 11 near Rexton, NB, where SWN parks its seismic trucks -- was "relatively quiet," with about 30 protesters present.
But the CBC said protesters burned tires and other materials in the middle of Highway 11 on Monday night, shortly after the injunction was extended. The highway was reopened Tuesday.
The Canadian Press and the CBC reported that the highway was also blocked for about three hours on Friday after protesters threw rocks at about 70 officers and vehicles of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). According to reports, at least five people were arrested Friday, followed by another seven on Monday. It appeared that at least 20 people had been arrested since Nov. 25.
Constable Julie Rogers-Marsh, spokeswoman for the RCMP in New Brunswick, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Last month a judge denied a request by the Elsipogtog First Nation for an injunction against SWN (see Shale Daily, Nov. 19).
Violence first erupted near Rexton on Oct. 17, after RCMP officers moved in to enforce the injunction and allow SWN access to its facility. At least 40 people were arrested and five police vehicles destroyed in the mayhem (see Shale Daily, Oct. 18).
SWN has licenses from the provincial government to perform seismic testing in New Brunswick, home to the prospective Frederick Brook Shale. The emerging play lies beneath the Hiram Brook tight gas sands in both the Sussex and Elgin sub-basins (see Shale Daily, Dec. 7, 2010).